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Abbas gives Israel ‘one year’ to leave Palestinian territory

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has given Israel one year to withdraw from occupied territory and threatened to withdraw recognition of Israel if it failed to do so.

In a virtual address to UNGA on Friday, Abbas said he would no longer recognise Israel based on pre-1967 borders – a cornerstone of three decades of failed peace efforts – if it refused to withdraw from the territories Palestinians want for a future state.

“We must state that Israel, the occupying power, has one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem,” Abbas said.

“If this is not achieved, why maintain recognition of Israel based on the 1967 borders?”

The Palestinian leader also called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to “convene an international peace conference” and expressed his willingness “to work throughout the year” on solving the final status of the states of Israel and Palestine “in accordance with United Nations resolutions”.

Speaking against a backdrop of maps of the region showing Israel’s territorial expansion over several decades, Abbas accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing”, using terms rarely employed for the sake of ongoing negotiations on a two-state solution.

He added that the Palestinians were ready to go to the International Court of Justice “on the issue of the legality of the occupation of the land of the Palestinian state”.

Israel has brushed aside the Palestinian leader’s demands. Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, said “those who truly support peace and negotiations do not threaten delusional ultimatums from the UN platform as he did in his speech”.

Erdan said Abbas’s speech had “proved once again that he is no longer relevant”.

The peace process to achieve a two-state solution has been deadlock for years.

Palestinian recognition of Israel has been the foundation of the 1993 Oslo accords, a landmark moment in the pursuit of peace between the two sides.

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, widely seen by the international community as the only way to resolve the conflict.

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